TI&FUN – TItanium oxides & FUNctional materials is a laboratory focused on the development of functional and nanostructured surfaces based on titanium dioxide (and more). The laboratory, twin with PoliLaPP – Laboratorio di Corrosione dei Materiali “Pietro Pedeferri” and coordinated by MariaPia Pedeferri, is mainly devoted to the study of surface alterations of titanium and its alloys in order to:
- tune and characterize structure, morphology and color of titanium dioxide films obtained by anodizing treatments or thermal oxidation;
- obtain photoactive titanium dioxide surfaces showing photocatalytic activity, applied in water and air purification devices, and self-cleaning properties, exploited in architecture to reduce the chromatic alterations due to soiling;
- produce colored surfaces thanks to the obtaining of interference colors arising from the presence of titanium dioxide films, which find applications both in architecture and in the manufacturing sector (production of seminoble metals jewellery).
- exploit the deposition of nanostructured titanium dioxide films to improve the corrosion resistance of metals, from titanium itself to stainless steel and others.
Starting from these studies, another research line was developed, focused on energy efficient materials for the construction industry. This activity involves the optimization and characterization of self-cleaning and photocatalytic materials (for instance, coatings, paints, or cementitious materials) by sol-gel deposition or nanoparticles addition. Experimental works first involved only titanium dioxide coatings, but lately it has been expanding to the bulk addition of PCM (phase change materials) to construction materials or building envelope materials to increase their thermal inertia, as well as to the use of fluorinated coatings – either commercial or produced in collaboration with the Fluoritech research group of the same department, and to the application of silica sol-gel.
More information on anodic oxidation applied to titanium and other valve materials
More information on the production of titanium jewels
More information on titanium dioxide mediated heterogeneous photocatalysis
More information on self-cleaning and superhydrophilic surfaces
More information on phase change materials in energy efficient building envelope materials